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The doors to the Ontario Securities Commission hearing rooms are photographed in Toronto on Dec. 12, 2019.

Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

The primary advocacy group for Canadian investors is receiving $3.75-million in funding to help it continue to operate over the next five years.

The Canadian Foundation for the Advancement of Investor Rights, known as FAIR Canada, will receive annual instalments of $750,000 over five years from Ontario’s provincial securities regulator.

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) will provide the funding as an allocation from its “designated fund” - money collected from sanction payments that can be used for investor protection, compensation for victims who have suffered financial losses, whistle-blower payments and for third parties such as FAIR.

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“The OSC’s financial contribution will provide FAIR with stable funding over the next five years, allowing it to continue its important and valuable investor advocacy and protection work,” OSC acting chair Grant Vingoe said in a statement.

The funding comes several months after FAIR appointed a new executive director, Jean-Paul Bureaud, a former regulator who had worked for the OSC for 19 years before leaving in October, 2018. Mr. Bureaud replaced founder Ermanno Pascutto, who had returned to the position of executive director in early 2019 on an interim basis. Mr. Pascutto departed FAIR last month and is no longer on the board.

Mr. Bureaud says the funding for a five-year term will bring stability to the organization, something he says the group has been missing over the past several years.

“This is going to allow us to rebuild the organization and look forward to constructing FAIR 2.0,” Mr. Bureaud said in an interview. “We want to build on FAIR’s past successes and take it to the next level.”

To start, Mr. Bureaud wants to recruit staff, renew the terms of current board members and bring on new ones, and enhance FAIR’s research capabilities

FAIR Canada was started in 2008 to provide a voice for individual investors, but has struggled, particularly recently, for funding. Last November, it was forced to return a $2-million grant provided in 2012 by Stephen Jarislowsky, the founder of investment firm Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd.

Mr. Jarislowsky’s gift was conditional on FAIR raising $4-million. FAIR Canada got $2-million from the OSC as part of the effort to find the money, but fell short even after receiving extensions on the deadline.

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When the organization began, its funding originated from fines and monetary penalties collected from the Investment Dealers Association of Canada and Market Regulation Services Inc. - which later merged to form the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.

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